Share | Posted Mar. 1, 2011 by Roepke Public Relations
Roepke Public Relations
Funds will expand the bike share system reaching communities throughout the Twin Cities
MINNEAPOLIS (March 1, 2011) - Nice Ride Minnesota today announced major steps forward on its Phase 2 expansion plan.
Nice Ride Minnesota, a local nonprofit bike sharing system, launched last June with 700 bikes in 65 stations. With over 100,000 trips taken on Nice Ride bikes last season, Nice Ride's first season was a great success. So much so that cities across the nation are following the Twin Cities' lead. Last fall, Nice Ride held public workshops, resulting in a Phase 2 expansion plan. Bike Walk Twin Cities and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the major contributors to Phase 1, have both announced commitments to Phase 2. They are joined by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and the Macalester College High Winds Fund, with more funding in the pipeline.
Transit for Livable Communities (TLC) committed $1 million to Phase 2 capital. TLC administers, under the program Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC), the federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, a $25 million initiative to further bicycling and walking as transportation options. Nice Ride Minnesota has shown benefit in shifting trips from driving to bicycling," said Joan Pasiuk, director of BWTC. We believe that expansion of the Nice Ride system will increase its transportation significance and accessibility by more Twin Cities residents," Pasiuk said. Walking and bicycling foster safer, more livable, family-friendly communities, promote physical activity and health, and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), using proceeds from the historic tobacco settlement, is Nice Ride Minnesota's title sponsor. As part of its mission to improve the health of our communities by combating the obesity epidemic and sedentary lifestyles, Blue Cross also issued a challenge pledge last fall committing up to $1.5 million toward Nice Ride Minnesota's Phase 2 expansion. The Bike Twin Cities grant has now triggered $500,000 of that pledge. According to Patrick Geraghty, President and CEO of Blue Cross, One of America's biggest challenges is finding ways to make physical activity easy, fun, and convenient so it becomes part of everyday life. That's why bike sharing is great for Minnesota. It's easy and accessible, and Blue Cross is proud to continue our support towards Nice Ride's expansion so that even more Minnesotan's can bike their way to better health!
The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative is a group of local and national foundations working to leverage the Central Corridor light rail transit system to create neighborhoods that are places of opportunity for all. The Funders Collaborative's Catalyst Fund has committed $250,000 for stations near light rail stations. According to Jonathan Sage-Martinson, Director, the bike sharing system is a great ‘last mile' solution, extending the area served by light rail to businesses, schools and neighborhoods a short bike ride away."
The High Winds Fund, which invests in the community surrounding Macalester College, has also committed $30,000 towards Phase 2 capital. With these commitments in place, and a few other irons in the fire, Nice Ride hopes to install approximately 50 new stations this spring. That will include eight stations already committed to North Minneapolis with funds secured through the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support and the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work" program. Transit for Livable Communities also contributed to the North Minneapolis expansion. Expansion in Minneapolis and St. Paul comes with strong support from both City Halls.
I'm very pleased that yet again, Bike Walk Twin Cities and Blue Cross have stepped up to support Nice Ride," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. In just one season, Nice Ride has helped transform how we get around Minneapolis' central core, and Nice Ride's expansion is the next logical step in implementing our plan for transforming transportation."
According to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Nice Ride Minnesota expanding to Saint Paul will provide additional sustainable transportation options for our community and will provide a healthy travel opportunity integrated into our growing transit system. Saint Paul welcomes Nice Ride Minnesota. These funds will enable Nice Ride to complete part, but not all, of its Phase 2 expansion plan. Nice Ride's expansion funding efforts will not stop with this announcement. According to Bill Dossett, Executive Director, Nice Ride will continue seeking a combination of private and public funds to expand the bike share system to more neighborhoods and business districts. We will grow the system as a connected network, keeping stations close together--the way bike sharing works best."
For more information about the Phase 2 plan, go to www.niceridemn.org.
While it's not required, Nice Ride recommends that everyone wear a helmet. Keep a helmet at work or in your locker. Freewheel Bike offers 20% off Trek helmets to all Nice Ride Subscribers (bring your Nice Ride key or a receipt from any Nice Ride station). Pick-up a helmet at Freewheel's West Bank store or the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center